ATTENTION FEDERAL CONTRACTORS:
The OFCCP issued a final rule for VEVRAA – effecting affirmative action for veterans that impacts all federal contractors. Labor data for the 2.6 million veterans in 2012 indicated that the unemployment rates for the veterans was 2% higher than the nonveteran workforce. Worse veterans who were hired were paid at lower wages than their nonveteran counterparts. As a result, the OFCCP has increased the affirmative action requirements for federal contractors.
Federal Contractors will:
Use availability benchmark data for recruiting veteran – either the national average, currently 8% of the workforce, or a recruiting area benchmark based on best available data;
Track numbers of veterans who apply for jobs and the number of veterans hired to measure the effectiveness of recruitment programs;
Provide job listings for state/veteran agencies in an easily accessible format;
Establish formal relationships with organizations that provide recruiting and training services to veterans
INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
Effective March 24, 2014 federal contractors are expected to increase their affirmative actions for the disabled. The Final Rule establishes a nationwide utilization goal of 7% for qualified individuals with disabilities. Additionally, contractors must document the number of disabled applicants and hires, conduct a utilization analysis, assessment of problem areas, and establish action oriented programs. These will be reflected in Plan Year 2014.
Complicating the Final Rule is the invitation to self-identify at pre-offer and post-offer phases, using language proscribed by OFCCP. I use the word complicating – because employer commentary prior to final passage, indicated the difficulties and/or stigmas that are attached to having a disability and the reluctance of the current workforce to self-identify.
What is really required for federal contractors is an effective strategy to address stereotypes, stigmas, and attitudes toward disabilities. The DOL has a list of helpful sites on training and approaches to help create an effective strategy. Here is a slide show on Benefits, Barriers and Strategies developed by EARN – Employment Assistance and Resource Network. http://askearn.org/docs/2013-10-10_4419.pdf
ATTENTION ALL EMPLOYERS
These two final rules may be directed at federal contractors with affirmative action plans, but recruiting and hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities belongs to all employers. Stay tuned for additional ideas and strategies to increase the diversity or your workforce.